Another WC Conference, More "Recycling"
The FWCI Conference last week in Orlando displayed many familiar faces, though with a measure of those in new positions with different companies. “Recycling” is common place these days in the WC arena.
The old aphorism goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That saying is probably never more accurate than when attending a conference such as the annual FWCI gathering in Orlando each August at the Marriott World Center. It seems everyone who is anyone in the WC area can be found in the Exhibit Hall, numerous hospitality suites, educational presentations, nightly party extravaganzas, or at the ever popular lobby lounge (which always seem to have a noise level that rivals a battlefield exercise by an armored division).
Conferences, in general, are a means to reconnect with former colleagues, as well as strike up new friendships with those whose names are familiar, but whom you have never met in-person. However, at an iconic soiree like the FWCI Conference what is always noteworthy to me is the amount of familiar faces, perhaps known to you for decades, who are employed with different organizations from when you had last seen them. It seems that the fine are of “personnel recycling” is in top form in the workers compensation sector.
Of course the conference attendees are always made up of two classes of citizens; those who pay the bills, and those who want to be paid. In other words, payers and payees. The former is principally represented by insurance carriers and employers, with TPAs bringing up the rear. The latter is a conglomeration of companies often pejoratively referred to as “vendors.” They are a diverse group involving such companies as medical management specialists, independent investigators, vocational rehabilitation organizations, medical bill review, IME networks, physical therapy providers, educational research organizations, Medicare Set-Aside providers, etc. The list goes on and on.
A stroll through the corridors of these gatherings will inevitably lead to several serendipitous meetings with familiar faces. Several of these meetings will also result in noticing that the person is with a different employer from when you had last spoke to them or saw them. Chief among these are the people who are in “business development” (i.e. Sales). The theory is that if you can sell, you can sell anything; cars, houses, vacuum cleaners, physical therapy, bill review, independent medical exams, etc.
But the “business development” folks are not the only ones who are doing the “Aztec two step” when it comes to different employers. Operations folks, account managers, claims professionals, and risk managers are examples of other areas where a personnel “recycling” seems to be in full bloom.
Another old saying is “one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.” What makes a job intolerable to one person may not faze another individual. There are also two types of job movement extant; voluntary and involuntary. Some job change is brought about by the employee for a better opportunity elsewhere. Other change is “employer initiated” for one reason or another. The good news is that there is always enough talent available should an employer want to expand or make a change, and there are opportunities for employees who want to leave their present organization.
Of course the business card exchange ritual is scrupulously followed, so the previous card can be discarded and the new data entered in your cell phone. No telling how long it will remain current, but that’s part of the attraction of these conferences. Catching up with acquaintances and finding out where they may be now.
At the end of the day, attendance at conferences such as the FWCI is largely one of renewal of acquaintances and friendships, and perhaps even learning something new from the many educational programs that are presented (as well as obtaining CEU credits to keep licenses current). The payees hope to find more payers to patronize them, while the payers often search for potential alternative vendors to whom they presently use. Though this “ballet” goes on, the faces rarely change.
WC is truly made up of a small fraternity of folks who are fixtures in the industry. Those of us who have been around for three plus decades are always sure of spotting a friend or prior colleague while attending these get-togethers. Recycling is a good thing if you’re one of us who has been around the block a few times!
About the Author:
John D’Alusio has over 30 years experience in P/C insurance with executive management positions in administration, field operations, and claim technical areas. Mr. D’Alusio has had many articles published in industry periodicals, and is also a contributing author to the LexisNexis published, “Complete Guide to Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance.” He writes a monthly column for Risk & Insurance Magazine and is a quarterly columnist for AMComp Magazine.
His Risk & Insurance column is located at: